The first thing to note with this appliance is the ease with which it can be set up and configured. When the appliance is plugged into the network the first time, it can receive a dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP)-assigned address for initial configuration or one can be easily statically assigned to it. Once it has an address, the setup is all done via a web-based wizard. This is easy to follow and includes steps to not only configure network settings and get a base configuration, but it also runs connectivity diagnostics and downloads updates if necessary. This way, at the completion of the wizard the administrator can be assured that the appliance is connected to the network properly and it is updated and ready to go.
After the setup wizard is complete, all further management is done via the web-based management interface. We found this to be easy and intuitive to navigate. We also found that many of the configurable policy options were as simple as turning them on or off. The InstaGate also does an excellent job of visual reporting in real time. The main dashboard, also known as the ThreatMonitor, provides many easy-to-read graphs and charts that show real-time alert and traffic data for a nicely detailed overview of network security. The InstaGate also incorporates the use of ThreatPaks from eSoft. These come in two flavors: The Web ThreatPak includes features for web security, intrusion prevention system, and gateway anti-virus and anti-spyware. The Email ThreatPak includes all the functions of the Web ThreatPak, but also adds functionality for email functions, including a spam filter and built-in email server.
Documentation includes a quick-start guide and a PDF user guide. The quick-start guide details the initial setup procedure for getting the appliance up and running in the environment, including a step-by-step walkthrough of the setup wizard. The user guide provides a much more in-depth look at configuration and management of the product features.
The company offers 90 days of no-cost, technical phone setup support as part of the purchase price of the appliance. Customers can purchase additional help on an as-needed basis or as a part of a support bundle. Support bundles include access to phone- and email-based support, software support, and hardware support. Customers also receive no-cost access to an online area, which includes documentation downloads and a knowledge base.
At a base price of about $2,000, plus around $1,500 per year for ThreatPak subscriptions, we find this product to be an excellent value for the money. The eSoft InstaGate provides many easy-to-configure features, along with easy deployment options to provide solid network protection at the gateway. - MS